Talking to Your Parents About Estate Planning

Do you have aging loved ones who don’t have their affairs in order if they were to die? This can cause stress on a family. After all, it’s the surviving family that is left to clean things up after someone dies. Unfortunately, your parents or grandparents may not feel the same urgency as you do. Below are some tips on talking to your parents about estate planning.

Perhaps they are not educated on how important it is to create an estate plan. Or maybe they think you’ll take care of everything after they pass. In any case, it’s crucial to discuss estate planning with your elderly family members.

7 Tips When Talking to Your Parents About Estate Planning

Bringing up estate planning will show to your loved ones how much you care for them. It will show that you care about their well-being. You want to make sure that after they pass, their hard-earned money goes exactly where they want it to.

Meet as a family to go over the fundamentals of estate planning:

    1. Don’t Put the Conversation Off: It’s beneficial for a parent to start early in discussing estate planning issues. This gets the family comfortable with asking honest questions. Generally speaking, a family that is good at communicating will experience less conflict when a loved one dies. But what if your family isn’t good at talking things out? The answer is to start with simple questions.
    2. Begin by Asking Simple Questions: Ask common questions to get the conversation going. For example, do you have a will? When was the last time you revised your will? Who do you want to make choices about your medical care if you can’t? Who is authorized to act in your place if it is necessary to have access to your bank account?
    3. Have the Discussion Early and Often: Estate planning is not a one-time discussion. Even if a member of your family has an estate plan, it should be reviewed and updated. Pick a holiday such as Memorial Day or the Fourth of July to schedule a conversation about their estate plan.
    4. Start with empathy: Show your loved one your concern by asking about other crucial issues. For example, ask about their social and physical well-being. then inform them of possible financial frauds. If you show a concern for their general well-being, it will make them more receptive to your questions.
    5. Provide Information and Research: Talk to your parents about what can occur if they die without a will. Tell them that their estate could go through the probate process. Make sure they understand how important estate planning is. It’s as important as choosing beneficiaries for a life insurance policy
    6. Collect Notes and Instructions: When a loved one passes away, a trusted person will need certain information. That person will need to retrieve the will, access assets, and more. For instance, are there any safes? Is there jewelry, cash, or other valuables stored somewhere that no one else knows about? A trusted person who knows these details can help ease the process during an already difficult time.
    7. Meet with an Estate Planning Lawyer: If you run into a wall when talking to your parents about estate planning, get in touch with a professional. An estate attorney can go over the significance of having an estate plan. Sometimes a professional from outside the family is better received.
 

If you find talking to your parents about estate planning is challenging, we are here to help. Give us a call at 602-443-4888 or schedule a strategy session.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.

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